When Hungerford selected a site for its memorial to the 76 men who died in the First World War, it chose well. It was built on the island in Bridge Street
which had historically been the site of the old Priory of St John.
The previously narrow and congested entrance to the town along Bridge Street, with the International Stores on its east side, was greatly improved by the
demolition of the derelict shop and the widening of the road.
In May 1920 a group of Trustees, including Beard, Alexander, Barker, Wooldridge, Adnams, Platt, Alexander, Gray, Allright, Newhook, Killick and Richens,
purchased the land on the east of the narrow Bridge Street from International Tea Company for the sum of £500. The lease had originally been held since 1678 on a 2000 year peppercorn
rent, and it had been purchased in May 1899 by International.
The deeds mention the dwellinghouse and shop, cottage, outbuildings, yard, "Little Chappell Barn" and the land on which "Great Chappell Barn" had earlier stood.
The purpose of buying the land was to widen Bridge Street, and to erect "an Obelisk ... to perpetuate the memory of the men of Hungerford who gave up their
lives for King and Country in the Great War, and to inspire patriotism in the present and future generations."
See also: Hungerford War Memorial Charity for the full text, or follow this link to see the photocopy of the Hungerford War Memorial Charity indenture.
The triangular strip of land between the two branches of the River Dun was landscaped, and a monument of Dolton stone, with a height of nearly seven metres,
A Service of Dedication was held on 21 April 1921, attended by a very large crowd. It seems that the entire population of the town must have attended.
Few of those attending could possibly have heard the words spoken by the Rev. Tom Gray and the dignitaries taking the service. Many of
those standing in Bridge Street, some of whom had brought their bicycles, would just have had to watch in silence.